Celebrated Australian conductor Patrick Thomas shares how the original YPA’s launched his 35-year international career.

For almost 35 years, Patrick Thomas AM MBE was one of Australia’s busiest conductors, taking the podium of the major state orchestras, as well as holding the position of ABC Federal Conductor-in-Residence. During his illustrious career he also conducted performances by the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) and the Australian Ballet, as well as directing the ABC’s Radio Chorus, the Adelaide Singers. His international engagements included performances with the Moscow Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the BBC’s Symphony Orchestras.

Patrick Thomas’ long and distinguished career as one of the country’s most respected conductors stems from a specific moment, he believes, competing as a flautist in the very first ABC Young Performers Award, known then in 1944 as the the ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition.  In the wake of the announcement of the competition’s discontinuation by Symphony Australia, the retired maestro shares his story, illustrating why this competition has been one of Australia’s most invaluable platforms for classical music for over 60 years.


This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now